Generations of Elbows

WAKE THE DEAD by Maura McHugh

“…worn smooth by generations of elbows.”

…that counter where Joxer prowls. This elusive Halloween mummery walks but gains no ground, but walks further than itself, couched in the admirably gluey style of Irish writers like William Trevor and ELizabeth BOWen, somehow telling us of a small Irish hamlet where the funeral parlour and pub and local shop share the same roof, and a man seeking a job there and everywhere (touring Ireland in his dodgy scrapeable car, hearing “snatches of news”, via its radio, about “wrangling in distant kingdoms”), a man called Donnacha who has been tipped off by a ‘tall lady’ in a nearby B and B about getting work there, and seeing his own ghost on the way there, a man whose grandmother’s dead body haunts him and what she said about his father outpacing himself in a sort of Zeno’s Paradox of ‘time and a half’ that Donnacha finds he deserves being paid from always coming second in the multitudinously mounting seconds of his post-divorce life. A haunting horror story that feeds the literary lusts of those who seek their frights from the corner-of-the-reflected-eye as an occupant of the coffin at the eternal Irish wake fit to wake dead Finnegans Wake but with real words instead, and with mourners all equally morbid. A wake needing a car’s unscrapeable wheelguards as well as ‘hardy backsides’.


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